About Angus Cattle
Angus Beef, also known as
Aberdeen cattle, is a very successful and well known breed of cattle. They originated
in Scotland in the highlands of Northern Scotland, in the countries or
"shires" of Angus and Aberdeen of Angus and Aberdeenshire, but today
they are found worldwide as one of the most successful cattle ever. There are
two strains in the Angus breed - Black and Red, and are naturally polled.
Angus cattle, locally also known as ‘doddies’ or ‘hummlies’,
were developed by three Scottish ranchers in the early 1800’s.
Watson.Both Hugh Watson’s father and
grandfather had been cattle buyers and breeders. The family is known to have owned
cattle as early as 1735. Hugh Watson became tenant of Keillor Farm in Angus in
He received from his father's herd, six of
the best and blackest cows, as well as a bull. That same summer, he visited
some to the leading Scottish cattle markets and purchased the 10 best heifers
and the best bull that he could find that showed characteristics of that he was
focused on. The females were of various colors, but the bull was black; Watson
decided that the color of his herd should be black and he started selecting appropriately.
His favorite bull was named Old Jock. Old Jock had been awarded the number 1 in
the Herd Book at the time. The bull was bred by Watson in 1842 and was sired by
Grey-Breasted Jock. The bull apparently was used very heavily in the herd from
1843 until 1852 and was awarded the sweepstakes for bulls at the Highland
Society Show at Perth in 1852, when he was 11 years old.
Watson heavily used a cow named Old Granny. She produced a total of 29 calves,
11 of which were registered to the Herd Book. Unfortunately she was killed by
lightning when she was 35 years old.
practiced the fitting and showing of his cattle more than was common by other
breeders of his day. He made his first exhibition at the Highland Agricultural
Society Show at Perth in 1829. During his long show career, he is said to have
won over 500 prizes with his cattle and did a great deal to increase the
popularity of the black polled cattle over the British Isles.
William McCombie took the farm of Tillyfour in Aberdeenshire in 1824 and
founded a herd from predominantly Keillor bloodlines. His well-documented close
breeding produced outstanding cattle that he showed widely in England and
France. Mr. McCombie showed great foresight in planning matings, used
careful management, and had unparalleled success in the show ring, and in
publicizing his famous cattle. Probably his crowning success in the show ring
was at the great International Exposition held at Paris in 1878. There he won
the first prize of $500 as an exhibitor of cattle from a foreign country and
also the grand prize of $500 for the best group of beef-producing animals bred
by any exhibitor. Not only did Mr. McCombie show in breeding classes but he
also exhibited in steer classes at the market shows.
Probably the most famous steer that he produced was the
famous show animal Black Prince, who won at the Birmingham and Smithfield shows
in 1867 when he was four years of age. From the latter show, he was taken to
Winsor Castle for the personal inspection by Queen Victoria, and later her
Majesty accepted some Christmas beef from the carcass of the steer.
The English Crown has long been interested in livestock
improvement, and Queen Victoria paid a personal visit to Tillyfour a year or
two after the visit the famous Black Prince to the castle. Such a tribute to an
outstanding breeder naturally attracted great attention to the already famous
herd. McCombie had the further distinction of being the first tenant farmer in
Scotland to be elected to the House of Commons.
Macpherson-Grant. Macpherson-Grant had the oldest herd of polled Aberdeen
Angus cattle in Scotland when he started improving the breed. In 1860, he
bought a cow named Erica from the Earl of Southesk's Kinnaird herd which
started a famous Ballindalloch bloodline. He was considered one of the greatest
exhibitors of the breed, and won prizes at all the major shows, including first
prize at the Paris Exhibition of 1878.
By line breeding and selection for type, these early
pioneers established the foundation for what is unarguably the greatest beef
breed in the world.
Since then, across the globe ranchers have recognized the
Angus breed's ability to introduce functionality and value into their herds,
while cutting operating costs, reducing time and labor requirements, balancing
traits and boosting profits.
weigh an average of 550kg, while bulls can weigh about 850kg, with high muscle
content. Their frame is classed as average-sized.
They have a good
reputation for docility and compliancy. They have high fertility rates, and the
calving process is known to be a smooth operation with little to no
complications usually arising.
generally healthy, and common bovine illnesses like eye cancer are rare. Angus
cattle, and even Angus crosses, do very well and often thrive on forage-based
production systems. Their carcasses provide high saleable beef yields, with a
good ratio of lean meat against waste, like bone and fat. The meat also has
good marbling, making for tender beef.
Angus can also
work well for dairy farmers, with some farmers finding the shorter gestation
period (around 1-2 weeks less than average continental breeds) of Angus-cross
calves a good factor in maximizing milk output. The ease of calving for dams
mated with an Angus bull improves the milk yield.
Angus beef often is often promoted as having superior taste.
This has been expanded by many fast-food chains promoting the message that 100%
Angus makes their meat tastier.